Mere relishing CAF campaign

CAF Confederation Cup

The draw was made at the CAF headquarters in Cairo yesterday afternoon where Dikwena were pitted against CS Sfaxien of Tunisia, MC Alger from Algeria and Swaziland’s Mbabane Swallows.

READ: CAF Confederation Cup group stage draw

And Mere insists the side are champing at the bit ahead of the continental showpiece, telling "This is going to be one of the great experiences for us as Platinum Stars as we are going to be facing some of the great African giants.

"Yes, we are happy with the draw, and every game is going to be tough as all the teams worked hard to get to the group stages."

The former Mamelodi Sundowns and Moroka Swallows defender says Dikwena will treat each opponent with the respect they deserve as all of the teams have reached the group stages on merit.

"Truly speaking, all the teams are going be tough. We are not going to undermine or over-respect any team. We’ve all made it to the group stages and that speaks volumes about the capabilities of all the teams.

"Yes, of course, we will always give our best for our team and our objective is to win every competition we compete in. Our strategy will be to focus on each game as they come, as we know that it's a mini league so getting maximum points when playing home and away will be key, especially home.

“Away games are always difficult but we must always come back with something, then it will give us a huge chance to qualify for the next round."

Mere says he doesn't believe that having a good run in Africa might jeopardise their top eight ambitions on the domestic front, as has historically been the case, but in fact, says it will help them grow as a club and team.

"No, I don't think it [added fixtures] will disturb us. If we can look back at our track record this season, the CAF games improved our performances and we did well after competing in those continental games. So we always take positives out of all those games and they improve us immensely,” he adds

“It's important for us to win this competition to grow as a brand. In order to be the best we have to compete with the best, so there can be only be good lessons learned out of each task we are going to face and we will all grow as players with the experience we will gain when we go all the way."

Mere advises fellow PSL sides to make the most of home-ground advantage when they compete in CAF competitions.

"There is no secret [to success] in such. We [just] managed to use our home-ground advantage, we tried not to concede many goals away because we knew that we can always score two or more at home, and it worked for us,” Mere continues.

“Credit should go to coach Cav [head coach Cavin Johnson] and his technical team, and of course everyone who worked their socks off to make it possible for us.”

The first round of the group fixtures will see Dikwena host MC Alger on the weekend of 12-14 May.